MEPs call for European solidarity mechanism

European Commission should activate solidarity mechanism - MEPs Simon Busuttil (MT) and Salvatore Iacolino (IT).

In a joint press release, Nationalist MEP Simon Busuttil and EPP member Salvatore Iacolino (IT) called upon the European Commission to activate the Solidarity Mechanism envisaged in EU law in cases of mass influx of displaced persons.

The two MEPs said the Italian island of Lampedusa "has been swamped by the arrivals of twenty thousands of migrants" mostly from Tunisia, whereas more than 800 sub-Saharan Africans who departed from the Libyan shores landed in Malta in just 24 hours between Monday and Tuesday.

"EU law already provides for a solidarity mechanism that can be triggered in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons (Council Directive 2001-55-EC)," Busuttil and Iacolino said. "We call upon the Commission to activate it," they said.

"EU law does two things: first, it provides that in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons, temporary protection must be given in all EU countries. Second, it promotes a balance of effort between Member States in receiving and bearing the consequences of receiving such persons. In other words, it promotes burden-sharing.

The decision is taken by the Council of Ministers deciding by qualified majority on a proposal from the Commission. It  has the effect of introducing temporary protection of the displaced persons in all EU countries and to include information about the reception capacity of individual Member States. The decision is binding on all Member States.

Iacolino and Busuttil have also tabled an Oral Question to the European Commission on behalf of the EPP on the exceptional situation in Southern Member States, especially Italy and Malta, for debate in next week's plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

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